After the American Indian Student Council at Cal State Long Beach held their annual Pow Wow event on the weekend of March 12th, student newspaper The Union Weekly published coverage Monday, March 14th under the unfortunate headline “Pow Wow Wow Yippee Yo Yippy Yay.”
In the piece, campus editor Noah Kelly made a number of questionably phrased observations, commenting at one point for example, “Indian tacos? What the f*ck are Indian tacos?” Many complaints ensued, and a week letter, in the March 21st issue of the paper, there is a two-page spread of reader feedback and apologies by editor-in-chief Kevin O’Brien, managing editor Andy Kneis, and Kelly, who explains:
What originally was meant as an unflattering review of the event itself has been construed by many as an assault on an entire culture. This was never my intention, and I meant no malice towards Native Americans. What occurred was nothing less than a lapse in fact-finding, cultural awareness, and sensitivity on my part.
Obviously, a hard lesson learned. Kelly and his editor also met in person on Sunday with a faculty advisor and representatives of the American Indian Student Council. Separately, Kelly told student publication the Daily 49er that he also received death threats but was not overly concerned for his personal safety.